A “sticky” situation at the Omni

Tamara Lustig books a room at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, but when the property offers her the wrong accommodations, all bets are off. Can she get a refund?
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Ridiculous or not? The “myth” of the unchanged hotel sheets

No recent story has generated more hate mail than my investigation of hotels that don’t change their sheets between guests.

I use the term “investigation” lightly, since the topic was so well-covered by my colleagues that I simply reviewed some of the previous articles, told a few of your stories, and added my two cents — which is that a vast majority of hotel always change their sheets.

That didn’t go over very well with some of my readers.

“You apparently fancy yourself a crusading journalist a la Woodward and Bernstein,” scolded one hotel executive. “In fact, you’re at the vanguard of your own self-styled movement of coach-potato journalism.”


The executive went on to say that the sheet-changing story was nothing more than a myth, and berated me for not including any examples.

“I have worked in the lodging industry for 35 years and have never — repeat, never — heard of hotel, whether a budget or luxury establishment, that didn’t change it sheets between guest stayovers.”
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An unmade bed — and no place to go

bed2Question: I’m trying to get some compensation for a hotel stay that didn’t meet my expectations. But all I’ve gotten so far is an empty apology. I hope you can do better.

I recently stayed at the Howard Johnson Oceanfront Plaza Hotel in Ocean City, Md. When we arrived at the hotel early Friday morning, the room was not cleaned, the bed was not made from the previous occupants and there were no pillowcases on the pillows.

I went to the front desk and I was told they were booked solid for my entire stay and the room couldn’t be cleaned until the next day. We reluctantly agreed to sleep in the unclean room.

I spoke with the head of housekeeping, the manager on duty the morning we checked in, the manager on duty Saturday morning, and the manager on duty Sunday when we checked out. Every time I tried to get a resolution I was told there was nothing that could be done. My only option was to go to another hotel and forfeit my money for the remainder of the stay. We endured the stay.

I contacted Howard Johnson customer service directly to inform them of my stay. I received an e-mail from them that said my information and complaint were forwarded to the general manager of the franchise for review and I would get a response. The hotel replied with a form apology. That was almost six months ago. Any suggestions? — Erin Hott, Waynesboro, Pa.

Answer: Ewww. You slept in an unmade bed? Someone should give you an award for the most accommodating hotel guest. Ever.

Obviously — and I can’t believe I have to point this out — Howard Johnson should have offered you a clean room. If it mistakenly gave you the key to a room with an unmade bed, it should have offered to change your sheets immediately. It doesn’t matter what time of the day or night you check in — clean sheets are the bare minimum.
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